Healthy eating for families
Try our simple tips to get you and your family into great healthy eating habits.
Without realising it, we’re all eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. And that includes our kids.
You might think that childhood obesity is hard to ignore. But even if children seem fine on the outside, eating unhealthily can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can’t see. This can lead to serious diseases in the future, like heart disease, type 2 Diabetes or even some cancers.
Over time, eating too much salt can also raise our blood pressure putting us at risk of heart disease and stroke.
That’s why we’re proud to support the launch of the Be Food Smart campaign. This helps families to take control of their diet and protect their children from the effects of being overweight or obese. A big part of it is the new Be Food Smart app, which lets you scan the barcode of products to discover what’s really inside.
The new app reveals how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is hiding in everyday food and drink. Download it from the iTunes store or Google Play and you’ll find it has something for everyone – like tips and suggestions for adults, food detective activities for the kids and fun ‘mini-missions’ for the whole family.
Stuck for healthy recipes ideas? Try these for inspiration:
- use the Smart Recipes app to find tasty ideas - It will even create a shopping list for you
- find recipes on the Change4Life website
- read our ideas for healthier lunchboxes and picnics.
We were all brought up to finish the food on our plates, but sometimes it’s more than we really need. These days, larger portion sizes are also more readily available, which means that it’s very easy to eat too much. Try these ideas to help you give your kids the right amount of food.
Plates and bowls are bigger these days - a child-size portion may not look like enough. So try getting child-sized ones for the kids, it will make it easier to tell if they’re getting the right amount.
Set a regular healthy snack time for mid-morning and afternoon when the kids are home. It helps train their bodies to think regular food is coming, making them less likely to overeat at meal times. Try these healthy snack ideas.
Get the kids involved
Let the kids watch you serve the meals. This way they’re more likely to understand the different portion sizes for different ages.
Give them less to start with - they can always ask for seconds. You’ll have less waste and they won’t eat too much.
Just a mouthful
If you’re worried about picky eaters not getting a balanced diet, encourage them to try a mouthful of everything on the plate, rather than all of it. You might find they try more things that way.
Clear plate conundrums
Don’t worry if they don’t clear their plate. If they say they’re full, the chances are, they are full!
If the kids say they’re hungry while you’re cooking, try giving them a glass of water to fill the gap rather than a snack that could ruin their appetite.
Start4Life gives parents all the advice they need to help their children be healthy in the first few years of life and beyond. Just like Change4Life, it offers free support, hints, tips and videos. So if you’re expecting a little one, or you’re a new parent, visit the Start4Life website and sign up.
What happens in your baby’s first years has a big effect on how healthy they will be in the future. To help you do the best for you and your baby, there are six Start4Life building blocks, based on the latest infant health research:
- Mum’s milk – why mums are the baby milk experts
- Every day counts – how each day of mum’s milk makes a difference to your baby’s health
- No rush to mush – 3 signs that your baby is ready to start on solid foods
- Taste for life – how giving your baby a variety of food now may stop them turning into a fussy eater later
- Sweet as they are – how to avoid giving your baby a sweet tooth
- Baby moves – why it’s important for all little ones to be lively and active
To get the full story on each one, sign up today.
Healthy Start vouchers
Getting your baby into healthy habits early on gives them the best start in life and reduces their risk of poor health later on. There’s plenty you can do – from making sure you give little ones the best food for their age, to helping them develop strong muscles and bones.
With Healthy Start you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins.
You could qualify for Healthy Start vouchers if you're on benefits and are pregnant or have kids under four. If you're under 18 and pregnant you automatically qualify even if you are not on any benefits.